Working in sculpture, game design, installation, performance, sound and the internet, Portland-based artist Brenna Murphy is interested in digital technology’s capacity to connect and expand human consciousness. For Murphy, digital tools act as an electronic prosthesis that deepens awareness and cognition, rather than as an alien entity outside human experience. The labyrinth is an ongoing theme in Murphy’s practice. Her installations, websites, and virtual environments are set up as a series of interlocking spaces that encourage wandering, displacement and discovery. Like the naturally occurring geometric forms referenced in her work, they organically branch out from each other as a dense array of unfolding structures. The title for her exhibition at YBCA, Liquid Vehicle Transmitter, alludes to the fluid property found in much of Murphy’s output.
For her new installation, emergent entity chant array, Murphy has designed a type of fractal involving self-similar patterns at varying scales. Constructed out of a precisely configured assemblage of 3D printed sculptures, LED lights, light boxes, and wood cut forms, the installation resembles a real life version of her complex and dizzying internet-based works. Like Murphy’s virtual video game environments, emergent entity chant array plays upon the visitor’s perception of both space and dimension, encouraging the exploration of elevated states of consciousness.
Deeply post-humanist in her approach, Murphy views her creative process as a form of meditation in which she seeks an intuitive, harmonious relation with the tools used to produce her work. Her intricate arrangement of forms focuses her own energy and that of the viewer, drawing them in. This sense of an attuned connection with an audience is also an active element in the art collectives of which she is a member, MSHR and Oregon Painting Society.